Herzog opens Israel's national day at Dubai Expo, celebrates Israel-UAE ties

The Israeli pavilion has been visited by more than 600,000 people from around the world.

 President Herzog at the Dubai expo, 1/31/2022. (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
President Herzog at the Dubai expo, 1/31/2022.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)

“Expo 2020 Dubai is a reminder of what can be accomplished when we work together to break down borders by connecting minds and imagining a different future,” President Isaac Herzog said Monday as he launched Israel’s national day at Expo 20 in Dubai, following a ceremonial welcome in the central plaza where “Hatikvah” was played.

Herzog reiterated the hope and belief he had expressed on Sunday in Abu Dhabi that other Arab states in the region will follow the UAE’s lead and join the Abraham Accords. Expo 2020 Dubai is a huge achievement for all the participating nations and also a huge achievement for Dubai itself and its brave leaders, Herzog said, adding, “It is a remarkable celebration of each nation’s unique identity.”
Herzog said he was proud of Israel’s contribution to the vision of a common future, as has been seen on display over the past several months both in the UAE and in Israel, where he said he had the honor to inaugurate the UAE Embassy in Tel Aviv. “Israel is a country in which obstacles become opportunities and where the impossible is a tantalizing challenge,” Herzog said.
“This pavilion has provided a phenomenal taste of what we have to offer – from water tech and sustainable agriculture to public health to smart cities and groundbreaking solutions for a circular economy,” he said.“It has also been a stage for the beautiful mosaic of cultures, faiths, music, and arts that make up Israel’s vibrant society, and it has been a practical display of cooperation between nations, of the future we can all imagine,” he added. “This imagination turned into reality right here, when the UAE and its leaders daringly signed the historic Abraham Accords.”
That decision was not only to normalize ties, “but to shape a new tomorrow for the next generation of both our nations and of the entire region,” Herzog said. In the short time since the accords were announced, bilateral trade has topped $1 billion, more than 120 agreements have been signed, and a $100 million bilateral R&D fund was recently established, he said. Israelis and Emiratis are studying together and learning each other’s cultures and languages, and 250,000 Israelis have already visited the Emirates, while Israel awaits the arrival of many Emiratis following the pandemic, he added.
Herzog heaped praise on the Gulf nation and its leaders throughout his visit.
 President Herzog at the Dubai expo, 1/31/2022. (credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO) President Herzog at the Dubai expo, 1/31/2022. (credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
“Part of the novelty of the UAE is the combination of an innovative spirit and forward-thinking approach, with deep respect for the glorious Muslim tradition,” he said. “We, the people of Israel, as children of the same Abraham, share your high regard for religious faith bound with ingenuity. We admire the course you have charted.”
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of tolerance and coexistence and commissioner-general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Israel has much to offer on our global platform, and so we are pleased to have you at this engagement with us, at Expo 2020 Dubai. We are proud to host the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and of our warm Emirati welcome to the whole world.”
“The participation of 192 countries is a testament to the UAE’s efforts to bring the world together into one unified platform in a bid to build bridges, engage in constructive dialogue and develop sustainable solutions to modern-day challenges,” he said. “We strongly believe that what unites humanity far outweighs what divides it.”
The Israeli pavilion has been visited by more than 600,000 people, including local officials, the general public and heads of state and ministers from around the world. Following the launch, Herzog met with the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, with whom he discussed various issues, including deepening collaboration in the fields of trade, innovation, tourism and investment. They also compared the common history of their respective countries.

Prior to leaving the UAE for their trip home, the Herzogs visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and were undisguisedly amazed by its beauty and grandeur.

On arrival, Michal Herzog was presented with an exquisite robe that was specially sewn in her honor.

 Israel President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal visit the Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi. (credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO) Israel President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal visit the Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi. (credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)

While touring the mosque, the Herzogs were told of its history and construction. 

By Tuesday morning, Herzog was back at work in his Jerusalem office. But in all probability, he will be traveling abroad again in the coming weeks to Turkey.